28 Things to Love about Lila
You teach me. When I signed up for this parenting thing I had a certain assumption, and with that a little fear, that I was going to be responsible for teaching you everything. First the simple things like surviving, then the more complex like talking and eating with utensils and which bands and movies to like. Then eventually the really hard stuff like driving and algebra and boys and, well, surviving. All dads must feel at the very least a twinge of anxiety about passing on their wealth of knowledge and experience so their kids can become the best possible versions of themselves. It's a lot to consider. The thing I didn't consider, however, was how much you were going to teach me. Already.
I used to love sleeping on Saturday mornings. Granted, not as much as your mom loves sleeping in, but I could get behind not getting up with the sun. Now on weekends I get up as early as I do during the week, if not earlier. When your call for me to rescue you from your oppressive crib wakes me up it usually takes me a few minutes of sitting on the couch and watching you shuffle back and forth across the living room before my brain realizes I'm ready to be out of bed with my eyes open. By that time, though, you've usually "reorganized" the books on your shelf, pulled all the Noah's Ark animals out of one tub and put them in another, then emptied them again all over the floor and demanded that we watch your birthday movie at least three or four times all while carrying around your little red bowl of Cheerios. When you set your mind to finishing a project, nothing can distract you until you finish piling all those toys in the proper bin or scattering all those clothes on the floor where they apparently belong or sliding that chair across the floor to where you just know it's supposed to reside. And then, once completed to your satisfaction but never before, you move on. I see that kind of determination and it makes me want to do everything more intensely. Lesson one.
When I take you to Starbucks every Saturday morning you're not content to just sit and eat breakfast and not take advantage of being out of the house. No, you want to use that opportunity to make friends; something your dad never sought actively. So you march from table to table, smiling up at your adoring new fans and usually saying something like "Aye-yi-yi-blecketch. Noooooo, NO!" while signing please so they know you really want whatever it is you're requesting so earnestly from them. And then they have the nerve to not comply. I have a feeling that someday you're going to have the words to back up that voice, and when you talk people are going to listen. You don't know it yet, but you're helping me find my voice too. Lesson two.
Lila at Starbucks, making sure everyone gets a salutary wave. And don't worry,
I made sure she didn't eat that scrap of Splenda paper that she picked up.
I shot this today. I love tickling you because you giggle and squirm and squeal like it's the best thing that has ever happened to anyone ever. With your laugh and your expressions, you teach me what it is to let joy overtake you. Lesson three.
A few days ago your mom dressed you in your purple Adidas tracksuit (my new favorite) and you went and grabbed your white Adidas kicks and brought them back to her as if to say, "Don't stop now mommy, it's not complete yet." Reverend Run would be so proud. You're only fourteen months old and you have style, plus you seem to know it. Today while mommy was in the dressing room at Banana Republic I watched you in front of the segmented mirror, just taking in the multiple clones of yourself. Vanity or just appreciation, I can't decide. But it's undeniable that you like yourself, and that's something to be admired. Lesson four.
|Whose house? Lila's house.|
At the end of the day when it's time to sleep you don't mess around. You almost never cry when we put you down for the night. We sing to you and pray for you and tell you we love you and then you crash. Work hard, play hard, sleep hard. That's a rhythm I wish I could get into. Lesson five.
One of my absolute favorite things about who you are and who I see you becoming is the passion you have for everything. Before you came, when I heard others described as "full of life" it never really resonated because I had no appreciation for what that could look like in someone that I love as much as I love you. And now here you are, so full of life and joy and sadness and frustration and desire and ambition and love that I can't believe you've only had a little over a year to develop all of it. I can't wait to see how you use it when you get older. We could either be in for a lot of successes, or a lot of trouble. But whatever happens we'll be so proud of you.